Estonian fishery calls for mass-merger

  • 2005-09-28
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - The owner of Hiiu Kalatoostus (Hiiu Fishery) has spoken in favor of consolidating Estonia's small fish-processing companies into a single large enterprise.
"Let's not yet call it a plan at this stage. But yes, I do have such ambition," Agu Laanemets told the Baltic News Service.

He said the fish-processing sector was still characterized by small enterprises, as opposed to the food industry, where consolidation had already occurred.

"It doesn't make any sense to create new production capacities in Estonia," he said, adding that at best, half of the existing capacity was being utilized right now. "We need to squeeze out more from the existing ones."

Compared with the 3.5 billion kroons (224 million euros) in annual sales posted by Lithuania's fish processing company Viciunai, the annual sales of Paljassaare fish processing company, the largest in Estonia, is just a little over 400 million kroons.

Laanemets explained that, given the stubbornness typical of the Estonian national character, it is unlikely that consolidation could take place through mergers.

"Instead, it should happen through takeovers - if someone wishes to quit this business and sell his company," he said, adding that he was planning no aggressive takeovers.

"My ambition, rather, is to be the driving force behind this consolidation of industries," he said.